Hard and Soft: Let Them Eat Ice Cream

It's all too easy to be critical of the American media, especially when it comes to covering cycling. However, you do have to credit them for their consistency. Sure, when cyclists get hit by drivers the newspapers tend to blame the victim, but at least they do it to all the victims--regardless of whether it's just some unfortunate schmuck, or it's celebrated actor Gene Hackman:

Hackman was riding without a helmet on an Islamorada street around 3 p.m. when the pickup hit him, throwing him onto the grassy shoulder, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. No charges were immediately reported.

Yes, pretty much every news outlet made sure to point out that Hackman was riding without a helment, because this is America, and what could possibly be crazier than a former marine thinking he could enjoy a bicycle ride in a dense urban area like the Florida Keys without first donning safety gear? Yet while they all seem compelled to mention the helment, not one of them so much as bothered to point out whether or not Hackman was wearing a sun hat--as a fair-skinned octogenarian, the actor is at high risk for skin cancer, and going out without adequate protection from the harsh Florida sun would technically be far more foolhardy behavior.

I'm sure we all agree on one thing though, which is that it's a good thing the driver of the pickup was not charged. Again, this is America, so the helmentless Hackman almost certainly committed the hideous crime of somehow being completely and totally invisible because he was riding a bicycle. As we all know, human beings automatically vanish into thin air when they sit on a bike, so it's safe to assume that the driver "didn't see him," or that Hackman "came out of nowhere," or else he fell under any of the other innumerable excuses by which it's perfectly fine to hit someone on a bike with your car in this strange and vexing country of ours.

In any case, if Hackman had made a habit of wearing giant floppy red sun hat, maybe the driver would have seen him and the unfortunate incident might have been averted.

In other stale news, it was announced on Friday that the Volagi guys have to pay Specialized one whole American "fun credit:"

Clearly the judge was a big fan of the movie "Trading Places:"

This was certainly at best a hollow victory for Specialized, though Mike Sinyard did his best to remain upbeat and gave the following quote through his clenched teeth:

“This lawsuit was a matter of principle and about protecting our culture of trust and innovation. We respect the ruling of the court in our favor. We are very satisfied with the outcome and the damages set at $1.00. We really want to put all our passion and time into growing the sport of cycling.”

According to earlier court filings, Specialized had spent $1.5 million in legal fees up to the start of the trial last week.

Sure, $1.5 million in legal fees to sue a couple of upstart Fred bike "curators" for a singe dollar may not seem like good business, but Specialized will recoup it next year when they once again unveil their radical new frame decal placements and pad the prices accordingly.

(The precision-engineered placement of the "S-Works" decal is the product of thousands of hours of graphic design and results in a 120% increase in other people knowing what kind of bike you're riding over last year's model.)

In fact, between the branding and the celebrity product placement, Specialized are sure to more than earn back their legal fees and reduce the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company to "boutique" status in short order in the process:

Oh yeah, Duhamel's really putting that Specialized through its paces, because nothing says "performance" like "shredding" a handicapped parking space on a mountain bike with the reflectors still on it:

Incidentally, Duhamel was not wearing a sun hat when the wheelchair van hit him, and no known charges have been filed against the driver.

Meanwhile, a reader recently sent me what very well may be the most offensive video I have ever seen. It's called "The Holstee Manifesto," it uses "bi-keen" to stunning effect, and I must be the last person in the world to know about it because it has been viewed over 400,000 times:

Thousands of years from now, when the space lizard archaeologists excavate the remains of our once-great society and ask, "What happened to the humans?," I only hope they're able to watch this video because it should answer all their questions. In particular, it will explain how a disease called "entitlement" swept through humanity with a virulence that made the bubonic plague seem like the sniffles. First, after going into debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to go to college, the very few people who were fortunate enough to get jobs afterwards decided they didn't like them and quit:

I may be mistaken, but that looks like the Occupy Wall Street protest. If so, we have to assume that the filmmakers actually sent someone to a demonstration about joblessness and told him to hold up a sign telling people to quit their jobs. This is the 21st century equivalent of going to a civil rights march with a sign that says, "If you don't like sitting in the back of the bus then take a plane and fly first class."

Also, here's the funny thing about jobs: you're not supposed to like them. That's why they call it "work" and not "masturbating." If you don't like your job, the last thing you should do is quit. Look for a better one in your spare time? Sure. Work to improve the one you have? Absolutely. Start a company like the Volagi guys and get sued by your former employer? Why not? But quit your job with no prospects just because you don't "like" it? That's the "If it rains take the bus" of career advice. If you don't like your job you're much better off doing it anyway until you become really awesome at it. Granted, this is old-fashioned thinking since we've mostly outsourced the concept of "paying your dues," but at least you wind up with some options that don't involve going back to school for that fourth MFA.

Next, after all the humans quit the jobs they were lucky to have because they didn't like them, they rationalized their choice by adopting the philosophy of "minimalism:"

Theoretically, this would reduce their overhead and give them more leisure and yoga time. Unfortunately though, all the beautifully-designed clutter-reducing products they coveted were sold by big companies, and despite what the humans had been led to believe by marketing the big companies were not in fact benevolent. Their computers were sold by Apple and their fixies were sold by Specialized, and paradoxically all these "minimalist" products were actually pretty expensive since the big companies needed lots of money for marketing and lawsuits. And even though the humans now owned products that were simple, they were still too lazy to actually use them properly, and in many cases couldn't even muster the energy to place their feet in their toeclips:

Soon, crippled by unemployment and the high cost of minimalism, their basic survival skills began to whither as well. No longer able to afford cellphone plans for their iPhones, they were forced to revert to paper maps. However, they no longer knew how to read the maps, and so they rationalized away that ability as well:

So the once-great cities of the world became dystopias. Just as Rome had once been plundered by barbarians, New York was overrun by lost flannel-clad meh-rauders in an aimless search for a "self" that didn't exist:

(Every one of these people suffers from the delusion that he or she is awesome at something and will find out what it is by doing absolutely nothing.)

They struck blows not with clubs but instead with total self-interest, and they were impervious to any sort of criticism since they were still covered by their parents' health insurance and had plenty of ready access to all sorts of prescription drugs:

And thus was born the modern-day monster, a fickle being who had never experienced the slightest bit of displeasure or discomfort, and whose greatest satisfaction in life was the intoxicating sensation that comes from peer acceptance and the belief that the city and the world was custom-made for you:

("Is there anything more ah-some than being special and having friends?")

In fact, they became so delusional that they adopted an all-ice cream diet:

Then they shared the ice cream and gave each other herpes:

And when they ate their Ice Cream of Conformity:

They appreciated every last bite:

And so their over-educated brains finally succumbed to both herpes and culture-wide brainfreeze.

Thus, the "entitlement" disease reached its final stages, and these herpetic entitlement zombies were reduced to roaming around and speaking to people incoherently:

By the way, next time you're on the subway, go ahead and ask the person next to you, "Excuse me, what's your passion?" Then watch in terror as he smiles lasciviously, unzips his pants, and produces his "pants yabbies" for your delectation.

And here's the final message of the film:

Sure, that all sounds nice, but the truth is that not all dreams should be lived, and not all passions should be shared. Sometimes it's better to just do your job and shut the fuck up.

Anyway, after watching all this I wanted to know what Holstee actually does, and it turns out they sell stuff like $99 headphones:

These are great for listening to the neutered faux-transcendent 21st century background music that now passes for rock, and presumably you can use them while you ride your fixie-out-of-a-box to your next sick waterfront ice cream-licking "sesh" with your limp, overeducated friends.

Also, Holstee will sell you a poster of their dumb manifesto:

As well as a frame to put it in, demonstrated here by a douchebag in a visor:

The world according to marketing is an odd one indeed. Apparently, when it comes to real life we're supposed to just quit our jobs and follow our dreams, yet when it comes to our recreation we're supposed to install power meters on our bikes, upload our "workouts" to Strava, undertake brutal "epics," and generally suffer and be miserable.

Just beware of smiling people bearing ice cream.

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